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The importance of building your personal brand

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In the digital age, whether you’re aware of it or not, you have a personal brand. If someone Googles you, what comes up? Because this is the first impression that prospective employers, business partners, clients or even dates will have of you. Is it a good one? Is the information that you’ve shared across LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or even your own website or blog consistent?

According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process. This means that how you present yourself to the world, both online and off, can absolutely make or break the strength of your personal brand in the workplace. Ultimately, it makes sense to take control of that narrative. But how?

To start, what is a personal brand?

In terms of your career, a personal brand is a vivid indication of the best you have to offer in terms of experience, performance, contribution and value. It’s your “career reputation” and can be a great differentiator when employers are considering a stack of similar CVs. Clearly standing out from the crowd can tremendously impact your career prospects and personal branding makes this possible. It’s more than just a list of talents or unique attributes though, it should showcase what motivates and drives you to success. It should be engaging, immersive and exciting, regardless of your industry.

How can you build a personal brand?

As a first exercise, dig deep and start formulating all of the qualities that differentiate you from others doing a similar kind of work. Chat to peers, fellow graduates and current co-workers to figure out what they enjoy most about being around you. Then start thinking about how you can build a narrative around this as your professional persona. It’s not about being fake. You’re not creating a character for a movie. Instead, you’re building the very best version of how to present yourself professionally.

Start by curating your online presence, find ways to differentiate your CV (maybe shoot an accompanying video), decide what you want to share with regard to your education, work history and maybe even personal struggles and victories. Essentially, personal branding isn’t something that happens overnight. It’s also certainly not something that you should leave up to chance. Take control over your personal narrative and how this will shape your career as early as possible!

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